The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) on Friday expressed support for the passage of a measure that aims to reforming the country’s apprenticeship program which ensures a steady supply of skilled workers particularly in priority industries and help ease the problem of youth unemployment.
Tesda Director General Joel Villanueva said the apprenticeship program will provide the youth with necessary skills and access to employment through training to be given within the premises of participating enterprises.
“It is high time we invest on this program through legislation and faithful implementation to train tomorrow’s workforce. At the same time, we are addressing the manpower needs of enterprises,” Villanueva said.
There are two bills currently pending at the House of Representatives seeking to “reform the National Apprenticeship Program and providing regulatory standards for the training of apprentices and for accreditation of the programs.” The bills are authored by Rep. Emmeline Aglipay of DIWA party list and Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa of Cebu City.
Another bill, authored by Rep. Cinchona Cruz-Gonzales of the Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) party-list, proposes to institute the Code for Enterprise-Based Education and Training Code in the Philippines, amending the Labor Code, and consolidating all policies and programs to afford and promote employment, protection of trainees and to improve the quality and relevance of education in the country.
The House committee on labor and employment recently conducted a hearing on the proposed measures. The proposed measures provide that “all qualifications with training regulations promulgated by Tesda Board are automatically classified as apprentice-able to meet the immediate requirements of enterprises for skilled workers.” The program will emphasize the need for theoretical instructions alongside the actual training at work. The apprenticeship period will be based on the complexity of the skills to be learned by the apprentices as indicated in Tesda’s training regulations.
Tesda will implement compulsory apprenticeship for skills determined critical by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz or those that are in shortage of manpower. Enterprises interested in participating in the program will have to apply for registration with the state skills training agency.
Among the requirements for registration include the training plan that spells out the competencies to be taught, training duration, training methodology and venue of training. While on training, an apprentice will receive a training allowance, which in no case shall start below 75 percent of the applicable minimum wage.
Within the apprenticeship period, the apprentices will undergo competency assessment as mandated by Tesda. They will receive a training certificate to signify the completion of the program. The certificate will contain the list of units of competencies acquired and will be comparable to completion of a training program in a technical vocational institution.
Tesda also supports the establishment of the Apprenticeship Training Fund, the source of which would be subject to agreement and further deliberation by concerned stakeholders. Villanueva said he hopes that the bills will gather a groundswell of support so that it will be passed soonest. NEIL A. ALCOBER